VILNIUS, March 17 (AFP) – The mother of slain French movie star Marie Trintignant clashed in court here Wednesday with a forensic scientist in the trial of rock singer Bertrand Cantat, charged with her daughter’s murder.
Cantat, 40-year-old lead singer of French group Noir Desir, is accused of causing Marie Trintignant’s death by beating her during a dispute here in a case that shocked France.
The mother, Nadine Trintignant, challenged a statement by Lithuanian forensic specialist Dr Romas Raudys that the findings of an autopsy complied with the version of events given by the accused after his arrest here last July.
“Our conclusions are not opposed to the deposition by the accused,” Raudys said of the incident last July in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, where the alleged offence occurred in a hotel room.
Trintignant,the 41 year-old mother of four sons by other partners, had been in the Baltic republic making a television movie directed by her mother.
She fell into a coma after the beating and underwent two brain operations, after which she was transferred to Paris where she died last August 1 of swelling to the brain.
Nadine Trintignant, wife of veteran movie star Jean-Louis Trintignant, questioned Cantat’s failure to call a hospital immediately after the incident:
“After such violence could he (the defendant) not imagine she was in a coma?” she asked.
“A person without medical knowledge cannot make the difference between deep sleep and a coma,” the specialist replied.
The singer claimed Trintignant fell and hit her head during the argument. He was taken into custody immediately afterwards and could face a maximum penalty of 15 years if found guilty.
The dead actress’s husband Samuel Benchetrit, whom she had left for Cantat, told the court he had spoken to Cantat from Paris by phone immediately after the beating incident:”I asked him if she was alright,” he said: “He said ‘Yes, she’s breathing.’
He was weeping more for his own sake than for Marie’s.”
Benchetrit also testified that Cantat’s estranged wife Kristina Rady had told him and others Cantat had previously beaten her and chased her with a knife.
But Rady herself, appearing for the defence, denied this:”Bertrand never ever lifted his hand to me or anyone else I know,” she said: “I didn’t say that.
“I am very sensitive to feminine causes. I could never have spent 10 years of my life with a liar, a macho man and a wife-beater,” said the witness, mother of Cantat’s two children.
“Bertrand is a very reasonable man who prefers dialogue and words in extreme situations,” she said: “I never saw him lose his head.”
In two autopsy reports sent to the Lithuanian courts, French specialists said their conclusions were compatible with statements by Cantat.
Subject: France news